Organotypic cultures of autologous hair follicle keratinocytes for the treatment of recurrent leg ulcers

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003 Feb;48(2):207-14. doi: 10.1067/mjd.2003.69.


Our purpose was to evaluate, in an open study, the efficacy of epidermal equivalents (EEs), a tissue-engineered epidermis prepared from autologous hair follicle keratinocytes, for the treatment of recurrent leg ulcers (n = 50). To generate EEs, keratinocytes expanded from the outer root sheaths of plucked anagen hair follicles were seeded on cell culture inserts at air-liquid interface. The total culture time was 5 to 6 weeks. Three days after the procedure, 95% of EEs adhered to the wound bed. After 8 weeks, 70% of the total wound surface was re-epithelialized and 32% of the ulcers were healed. After applying the EEs, a major relief of wound pain was noticed by the patients. EEs were applied in ambulatory patients without surgical facilities. Because 92% of the cases included in this study presented a recurrence of their ulcers after a split-thickness skin graft, we consider these ulcers as difficult to treat and propose the EEs as an alternative effective treatment of recurrent leg ulcers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Hair Follicle / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / cytology*
  • Leg Ulcer / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Skin, Artificial*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Transplantation, Autologous